VA Limiting New Hiring As It Aims To Widen Private Care

WASHINGTON (AP) – Despite the lifting of a federal hiring freeze, the Department of Veterans Affairs is opting to leave thousands of positions unfilled. It is citing the need for a leaner VA as it develops a longer-term plan to allow more veterans to seek medical care in the private sector.

The order by VA Secretary David Shulkin is described in an internal April 14 memorandum obtained by The Associated Press. The VA indicates more than 4,000 jobs would remain vacant unless they were approved by top VA leadership as addressing an “absolute critical need.”

They include roughly 4,000 positions in the VA’s health arm and 200 in benefits, plus over 400 in information technology and over 100 human resource positions. Government auditors have faulted VA for recent shortages in IT and HR.

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